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Read Delhi HC judgment extending Karta-status to Hindu women

Women can now manage the Hindu Undivided Family’s [HUF] property and affairs if they are the eldest alive member of the HUF, ruled the Delhi high court in a landmark judgement on Monday, reported HuffPost.

Justice Najmi Waziri broadened the definition of the “Karta” in the HUF, by applying the year 2005 amendment to the Hindu Succession Act, to the case of Sujata Sharma versus Manu Gupta. “Karta” traditionally stood for the eldest male member of the HUF Through the amendment in 2005, daughters were also given coparcenery rights in the joint family property, equivalent to the rights of the sons. Monday’s judgment by the high court is the first ever extension of the female-coparcenor reasoning to the definition of the HUF’s Karta.

The court held:

the impediment which prevented a female member of a [Hindu Undivided Family] from becoming its Karta was that she did not possess the necessary qualification of co parcenership.Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act is a socially beneficial legislation; it gives equal rights of inheritance to Hindu males and females. Its objective is to recognise the rights of female Hindus as co-parceners and to enhance their right to equality apropos succession. Therefore, Courts would be extremely vigilant apropos any endeavour to curtail or fetter the statutory guarantee of enhancement of their rights

Now that this disqualification has been removed by the 2005 Amendment there is no reason why Hindu women should be denied thepositionof a Karta If a male member of an HUF by virtue of his being the first born eldest can be a Karta, so can a female member. The court finds no restriction in the law preventing the eldest female co-parcenerof an HUF from being its Karta.The plaintiff‟s father‟s right in the HUF did not dissipate but was inherited by her. Nor did her marriage alter the right to inherit the co-parcenary to which she succeeded after her father‟s demise in terms of Section 6. The said provision only emphasises the statutory rights of females.

Read judgment (PDF)

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